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Chocolate for your loved one

Giving chocolate to your loved one for Valentines Day is an old tradition. But why do we associate chocolate with love and what are health benefits of eating it?

Benefits of chocolate.

1. It improves our life.  Anandamide is the chemical in chocolate that quickly activates dopamine receptors in the brain which temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression and provides the sense of wellbeing or “high”.

2. Substitutes for love.  It delivers a potent neurotransmitter called phenylethylamine, which is more commonly known as the “love drug.” That is why people crave chocolate when love is missing in there lives.

3. Makes us happy.  Cacao also has tryptophan – a precursor to the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter serotonin.

4. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems. It has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin which can improve blood flow and circulation.

5. Prevents cognitive decline. Cocoa’s flavonoids seems to make people feel more awake and alert and perform better. ( No wonder why my mom always gave me dark chocolate  when I took my tests).

6. It  is also and inflammation fighter due to resverathrol  presence. Eating dark chocolate is the most natural ways to reduce the inflammatory processes underlying the chronic, degenerative diseases.

7. Keeps cholesterol healthy. Naturally occurring polyphenols in cocoa, the fundamental component in chocolate, actually boost levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, while at the same time reducing the atherogenicity of so-called “bad” variety – LDL – by preventing its oxidation.

8. Increases energy. Chocolate contains caffeine, a stimulant that can help heighten physical energy and alertness, but studies also show that it can inhibit inflammation in the brain that causes migraines.

9. May reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

10. Increase insulin sensitivity and reduce risk of diabetes.
All those beneficial properties related to dark chocolate over 70%. My personal favorite is 85%

Caution!!!

1. Non-organic bars might contain GMO- soy product, such as lecithin!
2. Watch for amount of sugar!
3. Do not overeat!

As mentioned in Cleveland Clinic study:

“It’s important to remember the word moderation. There’s a measured and tested amount of chocolate – 6.7 grams a day (or one small square of chocolate two or three times a week) – that provides the best health benefits. While it undoubtedly comes as a pleasant surprise that chocolate is actually good for you, eating the right amount is crucial if you want it to be a benefit and not a liability.”

Keep all this information in mind  when you buy good quality chocolate for your Valentine.

If you would like to surprise you loved one and make chocolate yourself check my recipe from the forthcoming cookbook.

—–> GET RECIPE HERE <—–

Coconut-Banana Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice cream is a part of warm season. I always eat ice cream with pleasure to cool my overheated body down in the summer hit. My kids and I enjoy even more the healthy version of this sweet haven. Try my healthy simple and easy recipe this summer.

NGREDIENTS

For the crust
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the ice-cream
2 large and very ripe bananas, frozen
1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbs. cacao nibs plus additional for topping

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners. To make the crust, combine all the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the 6 muffin cups.
2. To make the filling, open the can of chilled coconut milk and scoop out the thick coconut cream which separates to the top. Save coconut water for smoothies.
3. With a handheld blender, whip the coconut cream until it looks like whipped cream.
4. In a blender, blend the frozen bananas until creamy. You may need to add a tablespoon of water or coconut water to allow blending.
5. Stir together the whipped coconut cream, blended bananas, and cacao nibs and divide between the muffin wells. Sprinkle with additional cacao nibs. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours, before enjoying.
6. Once frozen solid, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the freezer.

Enjoy with your friends and family!